Limiting & banning imports could help revive Agri-SME sectors, COSMI says.

The Government’s decision to limit and ban  imports of non-essential items is a welcome step in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and could help revive country’s Agri and SME sector, the  Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (COSMI) said today  (7 April) .

“Government’s limiting and ban on imports of non-essential items shall help local enterprises looking to get into in the production and processing of these items. We believe this situation presents the country with a rare opportunity to kick-start the revival of several local SME sectors” COSMI Founder President Nawaz Rajabdeen said.

Rajabdeen said SMEs in agri-business, aquaculture, poultry and other livestock are some of the priority sectors that can make use of government’s support if given while strong domestic demand for their produce during this COVID crisis shows low market risk for their supplies with possible immediate profits so that many connected livelihoods too get a boost.

“ We need to understand that SMEs are everywhere-in urban and rural areas. Therefore, in a crisis, our consumers first visit the SMEs and micros, rather than big companies in that MSMEs are not only economy’s lifeline but also of Sri Lankan consumers. We appeal to all the micro and small sector industries and the trade enterprises to take this challenge to get back to Business with our support,” Rajabdeen said in a statement.

He added that the country  has faced worst disasters such as the 2004 Tsunami which saw small business enterprises the coastal regions getting completely devasted.

The agri-business sectors that the local SMEs in are spices, teas including specialty teas, herbal medicinal and beverage supplements, coconut and oils, short eats, and fruits & vegetables. Aquaculture sectors where local SMEs in are ornamental fish & ocean fisheries including fishery cooperatives and processing. Previously on 19 March the Central Bank of Sri Lanka brought in several measures to ease exchange rate pressures and prevent market panic due COVID-19 pandemic. It directed the Banks to adopt three measures-suspending import of all types motor vehicles, suspending importation of non-essential goods and purchase of Sri Lanka International Sovereign Bonds.

The Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (COSMI) was formed in 2019 and aims to revive and foster the MSME and industry sectors of Sri Lanka.

Pic caption - COSMI Founder President Nawaz Rajabdeen